For some time now, I have meant to get over to the “new” Trader Joe’s here in western, NY. It’s been open for almost three years – I guess I’ve been busy! One of the big draws of this grocery chain is that shoppers can often find items which are not available at other retail outlets. Such was the case when I strolled up to a large display of round, yellow fruit. I thought I was looking at unusually large grapefruits, but as I read the sign, I saw that they were instead called pumelos. Because I had not heard of this type of fruit, I asked my friend if she knew what they were, but she also was not familiar with them.
The sign advertised the pumelos as “like a grapefruit, but sweeter.” Well, there’s a neat idea. Although I actually like the bitter taste of a ripe grapefruit, most people are not fond of it. Priced at $1.69 each, I thought that they were a bit pricey, but in the interest of expanding my horizons, I decided to purchase one. I tried it the next day and found it to be true to the advertisement – it was definitely sweeter than a grapefruit. I sliced it in half, and topped the exposed fruit with some sugar. However, I think that it would have been sweet enough all on its own. I poked at it like a lab experiment, trying to understand what this fruit was all about.
I poked at it like a lab experiment, trying to understand what this fruit was all about. The pumelo was more difficult to peel than a grapefruit, due its the very thick and pithy rind; much more substantial a rind than you would find on a grapefruit. Considering the size of this thing, I estimated that there was at least 30% “waste.” The juicy fruit had a very similar texture to grapefruit, but it was a bit more dense and of course, less bitter. Satisfied that I tried something new, I decided to do some research on this new-to-me fruit.
Pomelos are known by a variety of names, including: shaddocks, pommelos, pummelos, Chinese grapefruit and pamplemouse. They are native to subtropical climates, like in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Identified as the largest citrus fruit, they have a round to slightly pear shape and a yellow to greenish rind.
How often do you get to discover a new fruit? Why not give pumelos a try? If you do, be sure to buy one that is blemish-free, feels heavy for its size, and has a citrus-like aroma. Store your pumelo at room temperature for up to five days, or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Let me know what you think!